2019-02-08 / Home & Garden

Bring The Star into your garden

Stopping to smell the flowers
By Arlene Marturano SCGardenLearning
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While it may seem a remote stretch from the tree farm and forest to the front page, sports section, and classified ads, newsprint paper is a cellulose recipe of ground tree pulp from a renewable and recyclable resource. The garden is an appropriate place to recycle this organic carbon component into soil.

Importantly, Star newspaper ink is a vegetable-based oil from soybeans deemed safe for humans, other animals, and plants.

Below are a few ways to put the Star to work in your garden.

Pat Lanza, author of Lasagna Gardening, uses an eight page layer of wet newspaper sheet mulch in spring as a sun block to suppress weeds and runners. Newspaper mulch can convert turf to flower and veggie beds without chemical sprays while simultaneously regulating soil temperature, adding fertility, and conserving moisture. Soil microbes degrade shredded Star in the compost bin year-round.

Red wiggler worms in my vermicomposting bin are bedded down in shredded Star. Periodically, they receive a Starbucks treat of shredded newspaper soaked in coffee grounds.


As a sheet mulch, newspaper suppresses weeds, adds fertility, and conserves moisture. As a sheet mulch, newspaper suppresses weeds, adds fertility, and conserves moisture. Narrow strips of newspaper make seed tapes. After tearing one inch strips the length of a page, dab Elmer’s glue on the surface where seeds are placed. Plant the dry seed tape in straight or curlicue furrows of soil.

Craft seed starting pots by rolling 3 ½” by 10” strips of newsprint onto a 2” diameter cylindrical container leaving a border of 1” over the edge. Press the border firmly under the container to form the bottom of the pot. Remove the pot from the cylinder; fill with potting soil and seed. Water and wait for seeds to sprout. At transplanting time, transfer seedlings in the biodegradable pot directly into the ground to reduce transplant shock.


The Star seed tapes help gardeners of all ages space seeds evenly with no waste. The Star seed tapes help gardeners of all ages space seeds evenly with no waste. Rolled newspaper creates a collar for bedding plants. A three-layer collar of wet newsprint around the base of each plant seals in moisture for the roots.

When exchanging plants, newspaper is a moist wrap for transport. In fall and spring when frost threatens, wrap tender plants in newsprint to insulate from the cold. Gardeners have long used newspaper as a wrap to ripen fruit like green tomatoes and avocadoes.

Some gardeners use layers of newspaper as a padded cushion or kneeling pad.

Newspaper is used to press flowers and leaves for preservation when making herbarium specimens, dry collections, or crafts.

Before offset printing, pressmen wore handmade newsprint hats to keep the oily ink out of their hair. While pressmen hats are obsolete, the Star can become a cool sunshade. Place three sheets of newsprint at different angles and centered atop the head forming a twelve- pointed star. Sculpt the crown over the head by pressing down and winding masking tape around the bottom of the crown just above the ears. After the crown is molded, roll the edges of newsprint tightly toward the crown to make the brim.


Biodegradable newspaper seed starting pots reduce transplanting shock. Biodegradable newspaper seed starting pots reduce transplanting shock. Newspaper can swat, smash, and trap insects. Tight rolls of beer-drenched newspaper trap earwigs when placed where they congregate at night. By morning, throngs will have boarded the Titanic for your send off.

Long after the news is old, The Star continues to work in your garden.

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